Stoke’s Hanley Park has once again been awarded the prestigious Green Flag.
The 125-year-old site has been recognised nationally as a quality green public space by the charity Keep Britain Tidy.
The 60-acre park has undergone a multi-million-pound restoration over the last few years,
The bandstand has been restored, the main pavilion reinstated as a café and its boathouse brought back to life along with a whole raft of other improvements which has led to a surge in visitors.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council, which owns and maintains the park, successfully bid for £4.5 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund in 2015 to restore the park’s historic features and attract more park users of all ages.
And it’s a double-whammy for the region as Burslem Park has also retained its Green flag status following inspections of the restored Victorian terrace garden and ornamental fountains.
Councillor Carl Edwards, cabinet member for environment and housing at the city council, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to once again have received a Green Flag for Hanley Park and Burslem Park.
“Both parks have seen an incredible transformation over the last few years and these awards feel like a very fitting culmination to all of the hard work that has taken place to get them looking how they do today. They are absolutely stunning.
“We know how important it is to have quality outdoor spaces that everyone can access and enjoy. And it’s great to see the parks busy and full of people enjoying the fantastic facilities on offer. The response from the public to our restoration projects has been very positive and I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has worked hard to keep our parks looking so good.”
The Green Flag Award scheme is managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in partnership with Keep Scotland Beautiful, Keep Wales Tidy and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. It recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for their management across the United Kingdom and around the world.
More than 2,000 sites across the country will collect the award for 2022.
A short distance away, the playground at Westport Lake is the latest play area to be improved and updated as part of a wider investment programme across a number of parks to enhance the family experience.
Officially re-opening this week it now boasts a new play area, woodland conservation area and wildflower meadow.
Abbey Road Park in Abbey Hulton has also been having work on its railings and play equipment updated.
Cllr Edwards said: “Public playgrounds are not only an iconic symbol of childhood, they also encourage imaginative and physical play.
“We have seen an increase in the number of people using the parks and play areas during the pandemic, encouraged by the Government’s national policy of safe places to exercise and dwell. This, of course, leads to an increase in wear and tear to facilities and is why we’re doing this work now.
“It’s important than ever to have lovely, safe outdoor space for young people to enjoy while they exercise their minds and bodies.”
The council’s investment in children’s play areas is part of a wider £1.8m schedule of works over a five-year period.